Revision guide

11. What are some of the ways in which ‘living with crime’ is explored through the narratives of the films you have studied for this topic? [40]

Level 4

• The idea of ‘living with crime’ will be very well understood and its relationship to chosen films delineated clearly and confidently.
• A very good understanding and appreciation of narrative in the chosen films.
• A very good ability to relate narrative to the theme of ‘living with crime’ in developing a direct and insightful response to the question.
• The best candidates will emphasise the constructed nature of the films studied rather than taking them as unproblematic social representations of life – with a particular emphasis on how narrative has been shaped as a vehicle for the representation of ‘living with crime’

Remember that NARRATIVE is THE WAY THAT THE STORY IS TOLD, not just the story itself.

Harry Brown.

Harry has a problem – he has to find out what happened to his pal Len and how and why he died. That’s the disruption – In doing so he sets out to confront the drug dealers and low life youths in his neighbourhood – that’s the setting of goals to resolve the problem – he obtains a gun and sets out on a killing spree – that’s the attempt to repair the disruption – he finally confronts the boy and his uncle in the pub – that’s the crisis –  they’re both killed – that’s the resolution and new equilibrium.

There’s a parallel narrative involving the police. They can’t control local criminal – that’s the equilibrium – Len’s killing disrupts that, so they set their own goals to resolve the problem, initially their attempts to catch Len’s killers come to nothing – obstacles to be overcome – but increasing violence lead them to raid the state –  the crisis – this is resolved when the estate is cleaned up and they deny the existence of a vigilante.

Harry is the HERO that we identify with and want to succeed in his quest. There are numerous villains who have to be confronted.

There are clear BINARY OPPOSITES in the film that create interest to the viewer. Obviously good and evil, youth and old age, police and criminals, fear and security, and also the police’s truth and lies.

The film has examples of enigma (hermeneutic) codes and action (proaeretic) codes. After Len’s death – will his killers be caught? Will the police discover that Harry is the killer? Will Harry survive the onslaught in the pub? These are examples of enigma codes. Harry was in the SAS so you expect him to be merciless in dealing with villains, he obtains the gun – so you expect him to kill people, he finds the evidence of Len’s killing on the phone – you expect him to kill the boy, these are examples of the action code .

Sweet Sixteen

This Is England

Kidulthood

Eden Lake

12. How far are the circumstances and choices available to key characters in the films you have studied for this topic related to their social class?

Level 4
• The idea of ‘circumstances and choices available to key characters’ will be very well understood and its relationship to chosen films delineated clearly and confidently.
• A very good understanding and appreciation of social class as represented in the chosen films.
• A very good ability to relate character to social class in developing an open, enquiring response to the question.
• The best candidates will emphasise the constructed nature of the films studied rather than taking them as unproblematic social representations of life – with a particular emphasis on how ‘circumstances and choices’ may be regarded as the construct of macro features, while social class may be seen as more the construct of micro features.

SWEET SIXTEEN

Liam’s circumstances and choices are dictated by his social class. Glasgow’s industrial heritage has been decimated by Thatcherism, so working class young people have limited job opportunities – like call centres. They have to be entrepreneurial – selling fags – letting kids look through the telescope – delivering pizzas, but their not bad at heart – want to do the best for their mum, but they bend the rules to get he money, but get in deeper than they planned and enter a spiral of despair. Liam was in a children’s home then with foster parents – his mum’s in stir. His granddad is weak and manipulated by Stan. His mum turns out just as bad – only his sister is determined to escape the cycle of despair. Suzanne is the only ‘normal’ person in the film – a binary opposite of everything Liam stands for.

11. How far do the films you have studied for this topic depend on genre conventions to tell their stories? [40]

Level 4

• A very good understanding and appreciation of genre conventions and how far their chosen films use them.
• A very good understanding of how far genre conventions contribute to telling their stories (of living with crime).
• The idea of ‘living with crime’ will be very well understood and its relationship to the chosen films expressed clearly and confidently.
• The best candidates may consider how far films depend on genre conventions (rather than simply use them) to tell their stories of living with crime and may illustrate this through specific examples.

Sweet Sixteen, Harry Brown, This is England, Kidulthood, Eden Lake to an extent, are all hybrid crime/social realism films which attempt to deal with contemporary problems in society. They are all filmed in areas of deprivation on location in places like Glasgow, South London, West London and somewhere up north. The deal with problems on society that ‘ordinary’ people are concerned about – a ‘moral panic’? Examples are young people out of control, bad parenting, elderly people being terrorized, communities that are in decline because of lack of ‘society’ or industrial decline, racism in society, bullying in schools, drug misuse and distribution. Respect for authority. Police corruption and helplessness.  As in all crime genre they all have extreme violence, knives, guns, killing and beatings.

Harry Brown is a REVENGE film, where we identify with the hero. All revenge films have their own structure: Hero is betrayed. Hero recovers from betrayal and sets out to exact payback. Paybacks increase in grisliness (causing audience to whoop louder after each battle). Final payback is committed, usually in most obscene of fashion. The End.

Revenge films are popular because the audience likes to see the villains get their comeuppance! Gran Torino? Death Wish? Payback? You name it. They reflect a desire in society for ordinary people to get their own back on the bad guys.

Repetition and Novelty?

In the crime genre we like to see

12. How are different groups of people represented in the films you have studied for this topic?

Youth – hooligans, hoodies,

Level 4

• A very good understanding and appreciation of how groups of people are represented in the chosen films.    Groups of people may be interpreted in terms of groups of people appearing in the film (‘criminal groups’, for example) or in terms of social groups such as those based on gender, ethnicity or social class.
• The question implies comparing and contrasting the representation of at least two groups to demonstrate different kinds of representation.   Candidates at this level will be able to demonstrate some sense of comparison/contrast.
• A very good ability to explore representation, demonstrating how representations are underlined/presented in terms of micro and macro features.
• The best candidates may emphasise the constructed nature of the films studied and recognise the significance of film representation.

11. How important is narrative structure in communicating the theme of ‘living with crime’ in the  films you have studied for this topic? [40]

12. How far are criminal characters represented as victims of their circumstances in the films you have  studied for this topic?

Questions 11 & 12:

• An appreciation of the messages and values contained within the chosen films.
• An understanding of the relationship between form and content, possibly with a particular reference to narrative and generic features.
• An understanding of contexts, especiall

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